Oy, we’re a little late today and apologies for that, but what are you going to do when there’s so much going on in the Atlantic Canada beer (and cider!) scene? It’s looking like a lovely day throughout most of the region, with a high chance of continued loveliness through the weekend – it’s almost enough to make you think that Spring is something you can believe in. Whether you choose to let yourself be lulled into a state of hopefulness or not, one thing that goes wonderfully with nice weather is beer! And, well, we can tell you a little bit about that…
Great news for beer fans in downtown Halifax, the Tiny Taproom rises again! After closing their spot for in-person enjoyment in March 2020 (you know, because of this pandemic), Tidehouse Brewing shifted their focus to curbside sales of their beer in cans. In the before times, grabbing a barstool at the 6-7 person bar top could kick off or wind down your night, physical distancing was definitely not a thing. Taking advantage of this not-completely-voluntary opportunity, the Tidehouse Team has completely renovated their space, and are now open again to all of us. Making their production space out back more efficient and streamlined (taking out their original plastic fermenters and replacing with four 500 litre tanks was a big help in that regard), put them in the position to extend the public space significantly. Capacity is now 16 (22 in a post-COVID world), which may mean them losing the title of smallest brewery taproom in the country, but we think they’re OK with that… So, what can you expect when you visit? In addition to being significantly larger, the space has a refreshed look thanks to B.A. Built (behind the Edna and Bar Stillwell looks and designs), and several tables so your bubble buddies can enjoy a pint or samples at low tops. 5 taps are flowing these days, with fresh Sotil, Hibiscus City, Bitchin Camaro IPA, Goth Stout, and Mars Imperial Stout, with a small number of cans available as well. That last one is their massive 11.5% ABV ImpStout with lactose, blackberries, and yes, Mars bars. Small pours on this one, fam!
Congratulations again to Shean and Peter and the entire Tidehouse Crew for weathering the storm and using it as an opportunity to expand their space and offerings! Pop by 4 PM – midnight, Wednesday to Saturday, 5187 Salter Street.
With last weekend’s ice all melted and some bluer skies in the forecast, now seems like the perfect time for a trip to Cape Breton for the release of Big Spruce Brewing’s newest beer, Début. This marks the first beer to spend time in their recently acquired 500 litre foeders. Brewed in the grisette style, Début also saw a dry hopping with Huell Melon hops and completed its entire fermentation in the foeders. Expect aromas of spice from the fermentation and melon from the hops, with notes of vanilla and honey on the palette. This one is making its debut (zing!) in kegs at the Sprucetique in Nyanza and in Downtown Dartmouth at Battery Park.
The grass is always greener, they say and in PEI, Village Green is back with a new beer available today. Amarillo Pale is a Pale Ale brewed exclusively with Amarillo hops which gives it a great citrus flavour with some snappy bitterness. This 5.2% treat is available today at the Cornwall brewery on tap and also in cans to go.
Keeping up with new releases and news week after week, Bannerman Brewing is dropping two new releases today. First, Nothing But Time, is a new IPA that brings a unique flavour profile. With a grain bill consisting mostly of flaked and malted wheat, they massively dry-hopped this 7.5% IPA with El Dorado and Citra giving it a character that might remind you of candy and more specifically, Rockets! Available now on tap and in 473ml cans from the brewery; it will be at Marie’s this weekend.
The second big release from Bannerman this week is a Thai-inspired lager with help from Namjim, a Thai based dining experience that serves out of different restaurants around St. John’s. Paradise Lost is a light and complex lager brewer with Pilsner malt, flaked rice and lemongrass. After being generously dry-hopped with Motueka and Sorachi Ace, this 5.0% ABV beer was conditioned on toasted coconut, lime leaf and lime zest.
To celebrate the release, Namjim will be doing a kitchen takeover at Bannerman for Friday and Saturday (April 9th and 10th). The beer will be available only in 473ml cans from the brewery in limited quantities, so grab it while you can!
Down Lunenburg way, Shipwright Brewing is back to making some small batches for limited distribution (or at least we’re back to finding out about them in a timely fashion). The latest is one they’re calling Njǫrd Jötunn Saison, a 6.7% ABV saison at 30 IBU with a bit of a Scandanavian bent. Built on a grist of Shoreline Malting Pilsner and wheat malts, with a touch of acidulated malt in the mix as well, you can expect a balanced malt profile with some light graininess and a touch of honey sweetness. The hopping featured Eureka in the kettle for bittering, with late additions of Citra and Amarillo cryo hops for plenty of citrusy hop character. Completing the picture was a warm ferment with the Jötunn yeast blend from Escarpment Labs, which is a blend of a Norwegian Kveik strain and a saison strain designed to have a Viking deathmatch in the wort. Expect a bright and fruity beer with plenty of minerality and a touch of funk. Available on tap only at the brewery, and for growler fills and crowlers to go.
In cider news, Annapolis Cider Company in Wolfville dropped a new one last week, but a little too late for our pre-long weekend Thursday post. That’s okay, though, because it’s still showing in their online shop, so it’s still available! The latest in their Something Different series, Grape Mint has a pretty self-explanatory name, as it was blended with cryo-extracted grape juice and infused with plenty of fresh mint. Landing at 7.4% ABV, this sparkling cider leads with acidity, brings tropical pineapple and mango mid-palate, and then finishes clean with a cooling sensation from the mint, which is also present in the aroma. Sounds like this one would have gone well with Easter lamb dinner, but we’re sure it’s plenty tasty on its own too! As with all Something Different ciders from Annapolis, this one is in growlers only, and $0.50 from each fill will go to support a charity, in this case Campaign for Kids.
Fredericton’s Trailway continues to revisit some of their previous offerings, review them, revise them, and re-release them in a renewed form. This time it’s one called Imagination, an IPA brewed originally with Ekuanot and Loral (HBC 291), it now boasts so-new-it-doesn’t-have-a-name-yet HBC 630, Cashmere, Idaho 7, Sultana, and Columbus. But what’s more, this one has been upgraded to full DDH (that’s “double dry hopped”) status. This super hop-saturated fruity monster isn’t so monstrous when it comes to ABV, rolling in at 6%, which means you can almost certainly have two. Look for it on tap and canned at the brewery alongside a fresh batch of another of their hoppiest brews, Green Island. Act fast though, as both of these are in limited quantities and won’t be seen again for a while! Lastly, we told you about Trailway’s new light ale, Mully, a couple weeks back, a crisp and refreshing easy drinker at a paltry 4.0% ABV. That one is now in cans in addition to being on tap exclusively at JH Sports.
We mentioned back in March that Annapolis Brewing did a Pink Boots collaboration brew with folks from Church Brewing, Lunn’s Mill, and Sea Level for International Women’s Day 2021, and we promised you more details when it was released, so, well, here we are. Coming out this weekend is Glass Ceiling, a hazy IPA in the New England/Northeast style. At 5.5% ABV you could consider it on the more sessionable end of the style, with plenty of pineapple, mango, and coconut coming across from the Pink Boots hop blend, while a pleasant bitterness provides balance and a wheat-heavy grain bill brings the haze. Of course, proceeds from the sales will go to the Pink Boots Society, which provides scholarships for women in beer education around the world. We’re not sure exactly who’s going to have this one available, but we’d guess Annapolis for sure, so if you’re looking for some check there first!
Truro Brewing Company has a brand new light and crushable beer flowing from the taps today, Endless Summer. This 5.0% ABV Kolsch-style lagered ale is their answer to the “lawnmower” beers that many of us turn to as the weather warms and we may want a beer that refreshes first, without needing to think about it too much. While you probably won’t be grabbing ES by the flat, growler fills are certainly available at their spot and are a bit easier to juggle.
Nova Scotian Homebrewers, fire up those kettles again (as if you need us to tell you that)! Truro Brewing has announced their Hubtown Homebrew Competition. They are looking for your best and most creative Patio Beer! Your $20 entry gets you a t-shirt, as well as a pitch of Escarpment’s Krispy Kveik liquid yeast, a perfect way to ferment something quick and crispy-ly. Judging takes place at the end of May (BJCP-Sanctioned, btw, so scoresheets with real feedback provided!), and the winning brewer will come in to TBC for a brew day with Jana and see their beer get a full release. There are only 20 spots for entries, so if you are keen, best fire them an email (email@example.com) now!
Obviously a full slate of events still can’t really be a thing right now, but there are still a few things going on with proper social distancing and masking up and the hey-hey, so check them out!
Propeller Brewing is happy to announce that their Community Cask Night event will be supporting Prescott Group this month, with April’s events scheduled for tonight and two weeks from tonight. You can read more at their website for more details, but the short version is that they’ve been a non-profit organization in the area since 1962 and current support 160+ adults with disabilities through development of work and life skills. The cask for this evening will be Prop’s venerable ESB with an addition of coffee, while the April 23rd event will feature their Prime Lager dry-hopped with African Queen. As always, the casks will be tapped at 5 PM and will be served until they’re gone.
The last 12 months have seen far fewer beer nerds travelling outside of our bubble in search of new brews. Luckily, the good people at Stillwell continue to bring in the goods from elsewhere in Canada and beyond. This Saturday at HQ, they’ll be tapping three mixed ferm treats from Toronto’s Bellwoods Brewery. Beginning at noon, you’ll find a Farmageddon variant with Niagara Montmorency and Morello cherries, the peach version of White Picket Fence, and Grandma, a foeder fermented golden sour.
Are you a pro brewer looking to expand your knowledge of Berliner Weisse production? Maybe you’re just a curious homebrewer looking to get your lacto on? Whatever the case, check out the upcoming webinar from Escarpment Labs, livestreaming on April 20th at 12:00 PM (CBC voice: “12:30 in Newfoundland”). Escarpment will be joined by German brewer and beer historian Benedikt Koch, who will cover topics including the history and culture of the beer, and various production methods. Reserve your spot here. If you can’t make the livestream, look for the recording to be added to Escaprment’s YouTube channel on April 21.
Our usual round-up of quick hits is right here:
North Brewing is switching things up this week with the release of a cider. Core Values, first made last spring on North’s smaller system, is made with Stirling’s Farms apples. Fermented with a Chardonnay yeast strain to the tune of 6.1% ABV, it spent six weeks undergoing a cold ferment/conditioning, resulting in a drier cider with notes of melon, citus, and you guessed it, apple. Cans of Core Value are available now through North’s retail channels and on tap at the Portland Street taproom and Battery Park.
Staying with Dartmouth ciders, Lake City Cider has a new one out this week that features a variety of methods and fruits. Strawberry Rhubarb is a 7.8% cider made from house-fermented strawberry rhubarb fruit wine, blended with apples. Expect prominent berry notes and a tart finish. Cans are available now through Lake City’s retail channels.
This Saturday will see the return of the acclaimed Commissar Russian Imperial Stout at Unfiltered Brewing. The 2021 release comes in at 11.2% ABV and will be available in bottles and on tap next door at Charm School. Drink some now, and buy bottles for when the end of the world truly comes into focus…
We know plenty of folks who’ve missed Propeller’s Azacca session IPA and wish it were a full-year beer and not a seasonal, but life’s like that. The good news for that set is that the season is upon us and the 4.5% ABV and 30 IBU single-hop (Azacca, duh) beer is back at the Prop Shops and six packs are heading to the private stores, then NSLC in May, where you’ll be able to find it all summer long.
And speaking of the return of sessionable hoppy beers for the summer, 2 Crows has also brought back theirs! Matinee is just 3.1% ABV, but it packs plenty of flavor owing to being loaded with Citra, Galaxy, and Idaho 7 hops. Find it at the brewery now and coming next week to select NSLC stores.
A couple of jobs in beer on our radars this week, and expect to see these more and more as taprooms and breweries beef up their staff in preparation for the coming traveling season. Let’s go Bubble!
Lunn’s Mill in Lawrencetown, and their sister The Station location in Bridgetown, are hiring Servers, Bartenders, and Cooks to round out their FOH and BOH crew. Open to all with an interest in beer, wine, cider, and spirits or designing, preparing, and serving great food to pair, they’re looking for those with great customer service and working with a team. Tidy up that cover letter and resume, and send it through those tubes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if getting your feet (and probably hands and knees) wet in a brewery is more your speed, Chester Basin’s Tanner & Co Brewing is looking for an Assistant Brewer to join their team. With more production capacity coming soon, they’re looking to double production staff with a full-time Asst Brewer position. No previous commercial experience is required, though homebrewing and a thirst to learn more are both big assets to the job. While a seasonal job now, this could become permanent. Check out their Careers page to learn more and how to apply!